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Remote control pizza launched in Australia

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 9th November 2000

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A group of Australian TV watchers will be able to use their remote controls to order pizza directly from the TV screen this weekend.

Pizza Hut has joined two other companies, ICE Interactive and WIN television, to broadcast Australia's first fully interactive TV ad on Sunday evening in Orange, New South Wales.

The Pizza Hut ads will be screened nationally but only Orange residents taking part in the pilot scheme - called "MyiTV" -- will be able to point, click and order a pizza during the TV commercial.

The remote controls are part of a connected interactive television system, which ICE has installed in more than a hundred households in and around Orange. Since August the households have already been able to order such services on-demand entertainment, news, sport, finance and email through the system.

During the Pizza Hut ad pilot participants will see an onscreen prompt and will be able to order by clicking on the prompt with their TV remote control. They will then be linked to Pizza Hut's pizza ordering application, which was built by ICE and launched last week, and the order will be home delivered within thirty minutes.

The managing director of ICE, Carl Braden, says the interactive advertising applications his company has developed are the beginnings of a new media form.

"The unique feature of ICE's iTV application platform is the return path to the service provider. The return path reduces transaction costs for merchants and provides a sales channel to the heart of home-based purchase decisions, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week."

The ad is a prime example of t-commerce (television commerce) and Pizza Hut's chief marketing officer, Greg Creed, says it is a breakthrough for many people who don't have a computer or fear the complexity of computer-based electronic commerce.

"T-commerce is simple and convenient, and has a huge potential to narrow the gap between consumer intent and consumer action. For many people pizza is an impulse purchase."

A research company, Forrester Research, is predicting that t-commerce will overshadow e-commerce within a few years with revenues of $US29 billion by 2004, including $US16.6 billion in advertising, $US10 billion in commerce and $US2.4 billion in subscription revenues.

ICE Interactive is 40% owned by Australian mining company Burdekin Pacific Limited.

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